I’ve wanted to try Facebook Ads for a long time but have never had the right reason to do so. I could have experimented with advertising the marketing consulting business I’ve been running the past few years, but Facebook was not the right tool to reach my buying audience. So I waited.
However, when I recently published my art marketing book Death To The Starving Artist, it was a no-brainer to use FB ads to drive targeted traffic to my book’s website. I started with a 3 week ad campaign, and it was a great experiment that taught me a ton of great lessons and insights.
For those of you wondering how to use Facebook ads in your art marketing strategy, I’d like to share what I learned in a 3-part study of the anatomy of a Facebook ad campaign (Part 2 and Part 3 will be separate blog posts).
STEP I: Know Your Objectives!
The first thing you need to ask yourself before implementing ANY ad campaign is, “What do I want people to DO when they experience the ad?”
The way I see it, you basically have 3 options:
1) Increase Page “Likes” – Many of the ads you see on Facebook are trying to get you to Like a FB Fan, Brand or Business Page. If you take this route, you link your ad directly to your Biz Page, where you prompt people to Like the page.
The immediate benefit of this is to improve your “social proof” by impressing visitors with your large number of fans, which is really no more than a vanity metric. The REAL (long-term) objective is that you (hopefully) build an engaged audience of fans who interact with your content, making your Page feel like a dynamic community people enjoy visiting.
Will this help you sell art? Maybe, maybe not, but people are more inclined to buy from artists they have a relationship with – even a virtual one.
2) Soft Sell – Get visitors to do something more involved than hitting the Like button, such as downloading a freebie, joining a mailing list, or entering a contest or giveaway.
You can either send people to your FB Fan Page and go for the soft sell there using the Apps function (which is another post for another day), OR drive people to your own website to complete the desired action via your email marketing opt-in form (I recommend AWeber or Mail Chimp for this).
The key here is to capture visitor’s contact information, which will grow your mailing list. You then communicate regularly with your audience in a way that benefits, entertains, informs or provides some sort of value to their lives. Building relationships via email marketing is proven to provide greater returns (i.e., sales) than simply engaging on Facebook.
3) Hard Sell – Drive people to your website to make a sale.
This is the riskiest route because your message and product need to suck people in and instantly convert them into a paying customer before they click away.
This is actually the route I chose for my first campaign because I was betting that if an artist is curious enough to click on an ad for a book, they would be willing to drop $15 once they got to the site and learned how it would benefit them. Based on the results of my campaign, I will use the Soft Cell technique in the future.
If the Hard Sell works, the obvious benefit will be sales. If it doesn’t work, there are still benefits, such as brand awareness, website traffic, and possible future sales to those people who need to marinate for awhile before making a purchase.
The Results of My Campaign
I spent $70 to run a 3-week campaign using the Hard Sell technique, which linked to the homepage of my book website, and here’s how it turned out:
- 251 people clicked my ad
- Ergo, 251 visited my website
- 2 people purchased my book
- 4 people joined my mailing list
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing this post because these numbers are amazing. I’m writing because it proved several things:
- My ad WAS effective in that people clicked on it
- My Hard Sell technique was NOT effective because people weren’t ready for an impulse purchase – no matter how awesome my book may be
- A small budget CAN give you some quantifiable results
- My next campaign WILL be even more effective
When marketing your art, I would suggest taking the Soft Sell technique, which is what I will do on my next campaign. This allows you to build your contact list and form relationships with your audience, who very well may purchase your work down the road. While a book may be a better candidate for an impulse buy, art is something that requires a little more pondering and planning.
Ready For More? Onward: Marketing Your Art with Facebook Ads Part II – Crafting Your Campaign
Nikolas Allen is a Contemporary Pop Artist with a background in advertising, music and video production. He is passionate about art and marketing and wrote his first book, “Death To The Starving Artist – Art Marketing Strategies for a Killer Creative Career” to help ambitious artists reach a wider audience.